North Surry will be hard-pressed to keep its nine-year streak of conference titles going, but the Lady Hounds intend to give it their best shot, while also doing all they can to earn a better seed in the upcoming state playoffs.
North couldn’t help itself in the league race on Monday evening, since it was stepping out of conference play to host North Wilkes. However, a 25-11, 25-11, 25-13 spanking of North Wilkes can’t do anything to hurt the team’s MaxPreps rating come playoff time.
The Lady Hounds (10-7 overall) never trailed at any point during the match, winning the first three points of the first set and completely dominating a match which took exactly one hour and one second to complete. Every player on the team got into the match, the team scored kills at a .220 clip, and North Surry appeared ready to challenge conference leaders Forbush and Surry Central in the second round of league action starting today.
Delaney Fulk set the tone right away, serving an ace on the first play of the match. Emma Haynes made it 2-0 when she smashed an overset ball by the Vikings back over the net for a kill. North continued its aggressive play, with Natalie Eaton crushing a spike off a good set from Fulk to make it 6-2, and Olivia Jones checking in a few plays later to serve an ace and extend the lead to six.
Unable to handle the Lady Hounds’ attacking style, North Wilkes (1-11) tried a different tack, and won three points in a row simply by keeping the ball alive and waiting for a North Surry hitter to hit the ball long. But with the score at 11-7, Jessi Shelnutt put a stop to that by crushing a ball that none of the Vikings wanted any part of. The teams then split the next four points before Haynes went back to the service line and served four straight points before Wilkes could side-out again.
That was short-lived. At 19-10, Michaela Stone took serve for the Lady Hounds and served four consecutive aces. North Wilkes coach Samantha Smith called time-out after the third one, only to see Stone deliver a fourth. At 23-10, Wilkes finally managed to play a serve and thought it had a kill, but all Stone did this time was make a spectacular dig and keep the ball alive. North Surry eventually won the point. The visitors saved the first set point, but Camille Cartwright put the next one away to take the set.
Haynes helped her team to another run early in set two, this time serving an ace of their own, and Smith called time-out with her team down 6-2. However, Haynes served back-to-back aces out of the time-out before the Vikings finally played a ball and scored a kill. Then Eaton scored off a dink shot, and pretty much the remainder of the match went the same way. Every time North Wilkes won a point, the Lady Hounds would win three or four.
Cartwright led North Surry with 10 kills, while Haynes and Eaton had six each, Abby Draughn 4, Jessi Shelnutt three, Hannah Moxley two and Fulk one. Eaton had just one attack error and Draughn had none. Fulk played the entire match at setter and had 26 assists. Stone led the team with seven digs, was credited with five aces. Fulk had six digs, with Evann Shelnutt and Haynes each collecting five.
The Lady Hounds return to Western Piedmont Athletic Conference play today at home against Walkertown.